How often have you been told to beware of wolves?
I've heard preachers warn of wolves when someone dares to oppose another's biblical or doctrinal position. I've even heard it used in political circles.
Wolves are dangerous beasts. A pack of wolves can tear apart a human in a few minutes. They can rip open a buffalo's neck and feast upon its blood before it has time to kick its heels in defense. How do we detect wolves? By their howl, their bark, or their sneakiness and stealth?
Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." Matthew 7:15 In other words they appear to be something they are not. Obviously, as Christians, we can each be taken in by wolves, we may never realize they are in our midst till we are caught by our heartstrings and pulled away into their lair.
Paul said, "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them." Romans 16:17 Seems wolves can bring us into their way of thinking even though we have previously believed and trusted and found truth "contrary" to their evidences, prooftexts, and psychological rationale. We can each be deceived by a single wolf. They are so very dangerous, we are to "keep away from them".
Later Paul cautioned Timothy that he'd run into people who would have "a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." 2 Timothy 3:5
Seems wolves are those who come in with sneaky intentions, with cloaked intentions, with covered agendas. They aren't out in the open with what they think or believe. They tend to speak one way and act another. They try to confuse and confound us. They say one thing to one person and something else to another. That is what causes the divisions which Paul warns about. They "put obstacles" in our "way that are contrary to the teaching" we "have learned", and preached and taught since we began preaching and teaching.
I see this as warning us to stay true to what God has spoken to us...to what God's Word clearly reveals...not what man waters it down to mean, or society condones it to mean, or culture redefines it to mean, or politicians and judges legislate it to mean. God does not change. Nor does His Word.
Scripture warns us to stay away from those who declare right what God says is wrong. "Have nothing to do with them." It's not always easy because they project "a form of godliness". However, with that "form of godliness", they deny "its power". God has the power to change the nature of man, to reconcile man to Himself, to give man a new nature. For once a person comes to Jesus, all things are made new. He is a new creature who no longer follows after the world and its ways, but sets himself apart from the world even as he must walk amid the world. There is a difference in him. He seeks after God, not Satan. His faith is evident. He doesn't flaunt himself as worthy, but humbles himself as unworthy of the grace he has been given through Christ. He does not expect man to accept his sin as something to condone, but to hold him accountable. He admits his sin and perseveres. He does not hold a brother in contempt for not accepting and celebrating his transgressions with him. He seeks the hand of brothers to keep himself on the straight and narrow path, which show him the lighted path and understand the truth, the way and the life as he goes.
Beware of wolves. And also beware of sheep who act like wolves and use their wool to tickle our ears and pull it over our eyes as they sacrifice one of our own to the genuine wolves in our midst--all in hopes of silencing the lambs who hear the Shepherd's voice. selahV